September 21st, 2010
09:04 AM ET

Alzheimer’s CEO: Disease as an epidemic, financial burden

A report out this morning calls Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia an epidemic and the financial burden is nothing short of crushing.

The costs associated will total well over $600 billion this year - one percent of the World’s gross domestic product. By 2030, those costs are projected to increase by 85 percent. Harry Johns, President & CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, joined CNN's "American Morning" to discuss the implications of the report and the growing difficulties in dealing with this disease.

Harry Johns: It's only going to increase [with] the aging of America and worldwide. Alzheimer's is not normal aging. As I know you realize, John, but it is the biggest risk factor of Alzheimer’s and going to drive the numbers substantially. Today, in America, we have an estimated 5.3 million people with the disease and that's going to go as high as 16 million by the middle of the century if we can't change the course of the disease.

John Roberts: We have had some encouraging news later on the diagnostic front, new tests, spinal taps and analyses to give an indication earlier than ever as to who may develop Alzheimer’s disease. But it's been frustratingly slow in terms of developing any kind of - I don't want to say cure but even treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Harry Johns: It's true, John. We have seen great progress in science. As you indicated, particularly in the diagnostics, recently. Working together in a collaborative fashion with the national institutes on aging and the industry.

We've made great progress there but we need to see treatments. Today we don't have a treatment to stop or slow the progress of the disease and we have treatments improvements for people's functional lives so we have got to invest more in research to make a difference in that.

In time, for this baby boomer generation that is going to have at least 10 million people have the disease themselves

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Bob DeMarco

    The Alzheimers Reading Room has clear, concise, usable news, research, insight and advice for the entire Alzheimers community.

    The website focuses on those suffering from Alzheimers disease and Dementia, Alzheimers caregivers, and the art of Alzheimers caregiving.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    We have thousands of examples of various animal species afflicted with "mad cow disease" the world over. So where are all the humans that are also afflicted w/mad cow? They are in the alzheimers community. (duh)

    September 21, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • SilverMaran

      Alzheimers is Neuroborreliosis. We have many countries looking for a test that works. In the mean time the CDC/IDSA chooses to say they are not sick they just have a syndrome of unknown origin to protect drug companies profits. We have researchers finding it in brains all the time. Yet they let them continue to be sick opting instead to just cover up the symptoms, instead of treating for however long it takes to get well. But they can get their minds back and treated instead of being stuck in a nursing home to die a very slow death from borrelia....Know the incidence in your state? Most don't and even then they don't tell you the tests are worthless unless conducted by a tick specific lab. Not to mention the fact the UK has found another stealth organism that has not even been named yet. And the US finding high incidence of T.cruzi in the few states that know how to look....All syndromes of unknown origin will found to be caused by infectious organisms. It is now the decision to treat with life saving treatments or continue to just cover it up for profit.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Huh?

    is this thing on? what was this thing?

    September 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. phil

    SILVER MORAN, huh? LMaO again! Now hold on there your long-windedness. Mad Cow (chronic wasteing disorder) is so prevelant in our Colorado elk, we are prohiibited from exporting elk meat accross the state line. So where are all the people who have ever contractd mad cow disease?

    September 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SilverMaran

    You need to ask the CDC/IDSA/FDA that very question. While your at it ask them just what Morgellons is since they contracted one lab 2 years ago to find the origin and still no word. If you don't know I will try to tell you. It is a organism that is being found in high incidence in patients with chronic disease. Ask them why we have a test for pooled blood supplies for T.cruzi in the works but none for Borrelia. When they are both able to hide in our DNA and even harder to treat. We know the European BSE outbreak was squelched when they made them quit feeding cow back to cow. Now we have no such laws for feeding chicken to chicken. Is it a matter of time before those proteins fold upon themselves also to cause disease? 80 million cattle slaughtered to protect the public later you think they would have thought of that. Mother nature has many secrets yet to be discovered – at the same time we have many who profess to say they have it all figured out to protect profits. I suggest you check with your states incidence reports if there are any in the last 2 years. Many are stumbling around in the dark by listening to the medical societies who were supposed to have everything under control. Oh Wait. I forgot. Our past head of the CDC now works for MERCK. Laugh if you will.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. phil

    Thanks for clearing that up? (smile)

    September 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |